Saturday, December 31, 2011

Humanity's Hope

As we bid 2011 good bye and usher in a New Year, we are very much aware that Jesus truly is the only HOPE for humanity.

He came to give us life, a meaningful life with purpose.  He brought forgiveness, redemption, peace and HOPE.

Apart from JESUS life is pointless and without purpose...without HOPE.

My prayer for you is that you will entrust your life to JESUS and accept all He has to offer in 2012.

You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Believe

Morning's Greeting

This is the scene we woke up to this morning.  

I must admit, it's beautiful but the scraping and shoveling to get ready to leave for work weren't much fun...for Carol.

She did most of it...I must confess.

I guess we're not going to avoid winter after all.

While getting ready for work these words came to mind so I wrote them down.

There's a song in there somewhere...I think!

God still cares for His own,
Rivers of mercy still flow from His throne;
When you are anxious and feel all alone
God is still on His throne.

Let's remember that today!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Incarnation Mysteries

Thanks to Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience for posting these profound truths. 

We will never fully understand and comprehend the length, breadth and depth of His love:

”He was poor, that he might make us rich.
He was born of a virgin that we might be born of God.
He took our flesh, that he might give us His Spirit.
He lay in the manger, that we may lie in paradise.
He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven….                                                                                             that the ancient of Days should be born.
that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle….
that he who rules the stars should suck the breast;
that a virgin should conceive;
that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which himself made,
that the branch should bear the vine,
that the mother should be younger than the child she bare,
and the child in the womb bigger than the mother;
that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God

Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven

If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us . 

Behold love that passeth knowledge!”

~Thomas Watson

Birthday Blessings

Merry Christmas to all our Pilgrim Scribblings readers.

May God's peace be yours today as you remember the birth of His only begotten Son, Jesus!

Every blessing in Christ,

David Fisher

Saturday, December 24, 2011

No Song

Christmas Eve view from my office
Seven years ago I penned a poem that I often re-post during the Christmas season.  I pray that there will be a song in your heart this Christmas as you recall that holy night.

THERE WAS NO SONG

There was no song
In David’s town that evening;
Where God incarnate
Graced a rustic stall.
Tired and taxed they came
For Caesar’s census;
So unaware that roy’lty
Would call.

Then angels told
The shepherds of His coming;
They came to see
Emmanuel, God’s Son.
That dark, cold night
Welcomed Christ the Savior;
And glory reigned
Before the night was done.

He came to bring
Salvation and forgiveness;
For which the world
Had waited oh so long.
The Christ of God
The Hope of all the ages;
Brought peace on earth
And birthed a brand new song.

And now by faith
In Christ the King of Glory;
We are assured one day
In heav’n a place.
‘Til then we’ll journey
On our way rejoicing;
And some day soon
We’ll see Him face to face.

The trials endured
As pilgrims heading homeward;
Are temporary and
Will not last too long.
So hand in hand
We’ll cross the final valley;
Eyes fixed on “home”
We sing redemption’s song.

© David W. Fisher – December 13, 2004

Friday, December 23, 2011

Walking Home

Bruce and Paul Mackay
Here's a "feel-good" story about two friends of mine, Bruce and Paul Mackay.  Enjoy!

Mom's lesson leads to son's giving


By Luke Hendry


Bruce Mackay's mother taught him a lesson he never forgot.And on Friday, he used that message to help others.

Mackay, 40, walked from his office at Mackay Insurance on Dundas Street East to his home in Corbyville, a distance of eight to nine kilometres. And though he raised more than $2,000 for local charities, that wasn't really Mackay's goal.

Twenty-five years earlier, on Dec. 23, 1986, Mackay had borrowed the keys to his mother Margaret's vehicle. The family had a long driveway, and Mackay would drive the family vehicle up and down it to practice for his driving test that January.

But on that day, Mackay's father, David, dropped him off at the mall; Margaret would pick up her son after his haircut. Except Bruce had her keys in his pocket. He called home — and didn't like what he heard.

"I think you need to learn a lesson," Margaret said. "You need to walk." He did, heading north to Blessington Road. And every Dec. 23 since, he called his mother to remind her of what she did; they always shared a laugh about it.

"Last year she said, 'Are you ever going to let that thing go?'" he said Friday, laughing. "I said, 'No.'"

Margaret died in August; Bruce did the eulogy. "And now, you've gone 'home' and I'm left, once again, to walk alone," he said in closing.

Since Friday marked the 25th anniversary of that first walk, Mackay decided to repeat it, though the distance would be greater. He told his family about it, asking for donations to the Christmas Sharing Program. It provides food to people in need.

Margaret Mackay had long been pushing her family to forego their annual Christmas lunch in favour of donations to charity. "I was hoping to raise a couple hundred bucks," he said.

About an hour before Mackay started his walk, Sharing co-ordinator Joan Elsasser was updating The Intelligencer about the program's progress. She said all the food had been delivered, but the campaign was $2,000 short of its $18,000 goal.

An hour later, Mackay counted his donations prior to his walk. He was clearly humbled to learn he totalled more than $2,000 for Christmas Sharing and $170 for the Salvation Army.

"It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I hear that's what they needed," he said. I'm very grateful. It's humbling." "Isn't that cool?!" said Paul Mackay, Bruce's brother. "Mom's up there stirring things up."

Back at the Sharing office, Elsasser's voice went up an octave upon learning the needed funds had been raised.

"Isn't that just amazing! Wonderful!" she said. "There is a Santa Claus." Less than two weeks ago the program had been 20 per cent short of the target. But donations kept coming, Elsasser said. In total about 1,300 food baskets or grocery vouchers were distributed.

About 115 people had registered for the Community Christmas Dinner Sunday at noon at the Salvation Army Church (Bridge Street West at Palmer Road). As many as 150 are expected.

Volunteers also registered hundreds of children for the Belleville Professional Firefighters' Toy Drive. Bruce Mackay, though, didn't quite learn his mother's lesson as well as he could have.

His wife, Tanya, was planning to be present as Bruce and Paul began the walk.
The problem: someone had taken her keys accidentally.

"I had a good laugh about that," Bruce said. "I think Mom's laughing, too."
lhendry@intelligencer.ca

Christian Bookstores

 My friend, author and blogger, Tim Challies, posted an article regarding Christian bookstores recently that I took exception to.  Does that change how I feel about Tim?  Not at all!  I concur with some of his points and disagree with others.  Check out Tim's post here.
 
Fellow pilgrims who regularly read Pilgrim Scribblings will already know my perspective on Christian bookstores.

Here is my response to Tim Challies" article:

Having owned a Christian bookstore for 15 years...before Amazon, Chapters and CBD were a factor, I have strong opinions about "Christian" bookstores.

It was a challenge to satisfy customers from varying denominational perspectives.  Some of the charismatic books that customers wanted me to stock were downright BAD. 

Customers often complained that we didn't have enough stock.  They seemed to expect our small store to carry every "Christian" title on the publishers' backlists.  Not possible!  No chance!

It was always disappointing that a large segment of the local and area Christian population rarely frequented our store.  I could sit in church and count on two hands the members of our congregation who faithfully dropped in to the store.

Looking back, I thank God that friendships were forged within those walls that will last a lifetime.  One of my best friends came into the store the day after he was converted to Christ and is still thankful that we were there.

Customers were led to a saving faith in Christ in our store.  Struggling Christians were prayed for and encouraged.  That doesn't happen with Amazon and Chapters mail order purchases.

Another question begs to be answered.  "Am I a more faithful steward of God's resources if I purchase online at a discounted price rather than supporting our local Christian bookseller and paying full price?  I struggle to find an answer.  I just don't know.

So the battle rages on.  While our community has a Christian bookstore I will be a faithful customer.  I'm blessed when I pay the store a visit.  I don't buy "gospel garbage", "Jesus junk" or "holy hardware" but I try to be an encouragement to the owner and other customers who I meet in the store.

Choose what you want to do but please don't complain when your local Christian bookstore closes its doors...forever.

Note:  Our local Christian bookstore is Emmaus Family Books located in the Market Plaza across from the marina on Little Lake.  Drop in and tell Jim Rose that I sent you!

Justus Encounter

Three years ago I wrote a short story for publication in a book that our writers' group put together.  The story was entitled The Justus Encounter.  With Christmas just around the corner I wanted to share this story again.

The Justus Encounter 


Greetings, friend. My name is Justus. Each year at this time my mind drifts back to that bitterly cold night when deity took on humanity in a musty animal stall behind an inn in Bethlehem.

We were the last family to secure lodging inside the bustling hotel. When my wife Sarah, my daughter Eunice and I arrived every room was spoken for. The innkeeper graciously lent us a small cot, one blanket and a resting place in the corner of the entrance hall.

Our family had journeyed to Bethlehem to be accounted for. Caesar Augustus had ordered a census be taken throughout the Roman empire requiring citizens to travel to their ancestral hometown. We lived in Bethany, a little to the northeast of Bethlehem, and had traveled by foot to “the city of David”. I was thirty years old at the time and little Eunice was just an infant.

Exhausted from the trek, Sarah and Eunice quickly dozed off. I sat on the floor by the cot but sleep eluded me. About an hour later another road-weary couple burst into the inn. The woman was obviously “great with child” and her husband – I assumed they were married – requested a room. The tired innkeeper advised them that there were no vacancies but that they could find shelter in a stable behind the inn. He offered them a horse blanket or two to ward off the cold but they declined. As they left I felt constrained to hand them our only blanket, the one the innkeeper had lent us. They hesitated momentarily but accepted my offer. I finally nodded off to sleep, my head resting on the corner of Sarah’s cot.

After a brief nap I awoke to the raucous clatter of a dozen or more shepherds. Some even had lambs in their arms as they burst into the inn. They were talking excitedly and inquired where the Saviour, the Messiah, could be found. The innkeeper, hearing the commotion, stumbled to the counter. “Where’s the Messiah?”, they queried. “A host of angels announced on a hillside outside of town that a baby has been born in a manger and He is to be our saviour.”  The bewildered innkeeper re-directed them to the stable out back. 

The sheep herders had awakened Sarah and little Eunice with their exuberance. Eunice was crying and Sarah was frustrated by the interruption. Me? I was wishing they’d hurry up and go out to the stable to find this promised Messiah. 

Imagine a band of angels announcing a newborn King to a motley crew of shepherds. Sounded kind of crazy to me. Guess I’m a sceptic at the best of times. I get irritated by people who get their directions from heavenly voices. The commotion died down as the shepherds went to investigate but then built to a crescendo as they discovered that the Messiah had, in fact, been born in a cattle manger of all places. They woke everyone in the inn, the whole town I’m sure.  We didn’t get back to sleep. What a night! 

The next morning we registered for the census after sunrise but I was grumpy for the rest of the day. You know how you get when you don’t have a good night’s rest, when you’re in someone else’s bed or on the floor.

This Messiah, Jesus, grew up in his father’s home in Nazareth. Mary and Joseph were his parents, the couple I had given the blanket to. I discovered later that they weren’t even married that night. Scandalous! I learned that she had become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Now that was hard to believe! I’d never heard anything like that before but, as I said, I was sceptical of everything.

Back in Bethany we heard a lot about this man called Jesus. He helped in His father’s carpenter shop until he was about thirty years old. Then he began preaching around the countryside. He visited our town several times. Mary, Martha and Lazarus, neighbours of ours, were friends of his. One day Lazarus died and his heartbroken sisters sent for Jesus. They were upset when Jesus didn’t arrive until four days later. According to the townsfolk He supposedly raised this man Lazarus from the dead. If you ask me, he was likely just asleep, unconscious or in a coma but not dead. Raising a man from the dead was a little far-fetched for an unbeliever like me.

That all changed one day, an event that’s indelibly etched on my mind. Our daughter Eunice was about thirty-two years old at the time. She hadn’t married, was still living with us and was working as a seamstress. She became violently ill one evening and we thought she would die.  She was bleeding profusely and was very feverish. Several times we thought we had lost her. 

Sarah ran to Martha’s house and was surprised to learn that Jesus was staying with them.  Hearing of Eunice’s condition, Jesus came quickly. Our eyes met as He came through the doorway and I knew in that moment that He was more than just a man. I was strangely moved!  He quickly made His way to the room where Eunice lay and gently placed His hand on her forehead. Immediately the fever vanished. The bleeding stopped. Eunice sat up in bed, instantly healed and I bowed before this man called Jesus, a changed man. 

Belief filled my heart where scepticism and doubt once ruled. Jesus prayed with our family, pronounced His blessing and quickly was gone. I’ll never forget the look of compassion in His eyes.

The next morning the thought crossed my mind briefly that I should tell Jesus that it was my blanket that cradled Him on that cold, frosty night in Bethlehem but I quickly realized that He already knew. He was God and He knew everything. I was changed forever by this encounter with the One I had rejected for so long.

Don’t be a doubter like me. Investigate His claims. Read the biblical account of Christ’s life.  Seek out a Christian pastor or friend if you want to know more. Jesus Christ is everything the angels said he would be and He will change your life.  Just give Him a chance!

Nearing Home

Nearing Home - A Book Review

As one who followed Billy Graham’s ministry since I was a young boy, I was anxious to read his latest book Nearing Home in which he graciously shares his reflections on growing old...and finishing well. 

Citing examples of several heroes of the faith including Noah, Enoch, David and Zechariah he points out that God continues to use His children even in their advanced years. The reader is encouraged to finish strong and not drop out of the race.

Throughout the book the author shares scriptures which provide hope and encouragement for those who are nearing home.  Graham states that if he had to summarize in one word the changes that take place as we grow older it would be the word decline.  Graham transparently shares how there are times when he’d like to “hike up the hills” or “stand in the pulpit”...”but the walker, wheelchair and cane near my bed remind me that chapter of life is past.”

He cites several perils which an older person may face.  He lists fear, depression, anger, intense loneliness and becoming absorbed in our own problems as issues we will likely battle.

Throughout the book the author makes reference to his wife Ruth who passed away several years ago.  It is obvious that they were deeply committed to one another and he misses her dearly.  He shares that the words that Ruth wanted inscribed on her tombstone were “End of Construction.  Thank you for your patience.” 

Graham challenges the reader to leave a legacy for those who come behind us and also to attempt to resolve relational conflicts before it is too late.  Of course he takes an opportunity to simply share the gospel story again as he has done thousands of times throughout his ministry.

The book is an easy read with many personal vignettes from Billy Graham’s life but I found the chapter concerning financial planning, mastering your money and insuring that a will is in place was more difficult to get through.

The book is an easy read with many personal vignettes from Billy Graham’s life but I found the chapter concerning financial planning, mastering your money and insuring that a will is in place was more difficult to get through.

Nearing Home confirmed what I had already determined many years ago.  Billy Graham is a godly man who has lived well and is filled with hope as he is nearing home.  I highly recommend this book.

"This book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson".  www.grafmartin.com

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Book Lovers

I'm often asked when people see the bookshelves lining my office if I've read every one of them.  I hate that question because it begs an answer that is often misstated and then misunderstood.

No, I have not read every book.  I have not even read half of them.  Some of them have only been briefly scanned.  Many are theological reference books.  There's nothing more exciting than sitting down and reading the 8 volume set of Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology.  Some books are written to be read in one sitting.  Others are written to be refered to.  That's why they're called reference books.

I was pleased to read Winston Churchill's comments regarding books.  The former British Prime Minister wrote:

"If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them - peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are.  Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances."

Finally...someone else who feels the way I do about books.  He said it better than I ever could.  Now I'm going to "fondle" an F. F. Bruce book.  Just kidding.

But...I DO LOVE BOOKS!